Trudeau Condemns Protests of Pro-Israel Event at York University

November 22, 2019
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 21: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press briefing during the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 21, 2017 in New York City. The most pressing issues facing the assembly this year include North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar, and the debate over climate change. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the protests that occurred during a pro-Israel event at York University on Nov. 20 in a tweet.

Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) led the protests, which reportedly featured 600 protesters, in response to a Reservists on Duty event. Chants of “Free Palestine” and “Viva viva Intifada” broke out; violence also occurred during the protests.

Trudeau tweeted on Nov. 22, “On Wednesday night, violence & racist chants broke out against an event organized by the Jewish community at York University. What happened that night was shocking and absolutely unacceptable. Anti-Semitism has no place in Canada. We will always denounce it & all forms of hatred.”

B’nai Brith Canada tweeted, “Thank you Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau for your strong statement denouncing #Antisemitism. These violent racist protests have no place in our society.”

Women Fight Anti-Semitism, on the other hand, tweeted, “Denounce Velcro while you’re at it. Denounce avocados and pretzels and even broken guitar strings. Take action or leave the vacuous cliches for another time.”


York University President Rhonda Lenton also condemned the protests in a statement.”

“In democratic societies, universities play a central role in facilitating debate on difficult issues,” she said. “Shouting, threats of violence and attempts to intimidate community members are not consistent with the responsibilities we all share.”

Reservists on Duty claimed that the protesters “had assaulted a few Jewish students” while SAIA denied being a part of the violence. SAIA is alleging that pro-Palestinian protesters were the ones assaulted.


Aboud Dandachi, a former Syrian refugee who has resided in Canada since 2017, wrote in a Nov. 22 Canadian Jewish News op-ed that the protesters were banging on the doors of where the event was being held and attempted to make as much noise as possible to disrupt the event. When the event was over, the attendees needed security to escort them out.

“In 2019, in Toronto, Jews are not safe enough to walk alone back to the parking lot at one of the city’s institutes of higher education,” Dandachi wrote. “My fellow attendees were angry, apprehensive, but even through the banging on the doors, and the non-stop slogan shouting, they carried on with the event. It was an act of defiance.”

He proceeded to argue that the protesters were simply enraged at the “The survival of the world’s only Jewish state. Israel had won. So what is a rabid Israel-hater to do? Bang on doors, shout slogans, wave flags – and tell themselves that this is a ‘victory.’”

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